Five St. Louis area title insurance agencies agree to provide better disclosure to consumers

Consumer Affairs Division requested cease and desist orders be issued to 16 title insurance agencies last November

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – The department today announced that five of the 16 title insurance agencies it took action against last November have signed consent orders agreeing to make changes in how they disclose price information to consumers.

“This year I signed legislation to protect Missourians from deceptive title insurance practices,” Gov. Blunt said.  “In

Missouri we are helping make certain that title insurers understand they have a responsibility to act in good faith with their customers.”
“Unfortunately, the findings of our investigations proved to hold true throughout most of the market,” Director Doug Ommen said.  “After obtaining a broad perspective on how the title industry markets, underwrites and rates title insurance in

Missouri, we were able to make meaningful legislative reforms this past year.  These orders demonstrate how the industry will be regulated both now and in the future.”
The director has ordered and the agencies have consented to:

use and collect title insurance company premiums that have been filed with the department
no longer use or collect an “all-inclusive” title insurance price without disclosing to consumers that the all-inclusive title insurance price includes both non-negotiable premium and other charges that may be negotiable
no longer use the terms “rate”, “card rate”, “premium” or other terms that describe an all-inclusive price that includes both non-negotiable premiums and negotiable charges
collect the same premium for title insurance policies in the same classification with the same amount of liability coverage
Agencies also agree to follow both bulletins and rules promulgated by the department pursuant to the title insurance reform legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Blunt this past year.  This legislation clarifies a duty to fully disclose to consumers separate price information for insurance premium and for the title search and other services, prohibits misuse or commingling of real estate closing or settlement funds with tight restrictions for deposits and disbursements and requires title insurance companies to actively oversee title agencies writing business on their behalf by conducting annual audits of escrow, underwriting and claims practices.

To view each agency’s consent order, please visit http://www.insurance.mo.gov/cgi-bin/EnforcementList.pl

About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration

The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals.  The department’s seven divisions work to maintain consumer confidence by examining and monitoring industries and professions and by establishing coherent and evolving policies.  DIFP works to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.

For further information, contact: Emily Kampeter at (573) 526-4845.

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